Michael’s Tipperary Team of the 80’s
In the previous two parts of our series on Tipperary hurling in the 1980’s,We’ve looked at the games in Part One and the scorers in Part Two, Now in Part 3 Michael puts his head on the block and names what he thinks in the best Tipp 15 of the decade,so who are the 15 Tipperary Titans of the decade?.
Tipp has had many good keepers over the years and none more so than in the 80’s. Pat McLoughney started the decade between the sticks and won an All-Star, John Farrell, John Sheedy & Tony Shepperd all had spells there too,but I’ve gone for the big Lorrha man Ken Hogan, Who with 14 appearances, 1 All-Star, 3 Munster medals and 1 All-Ireland as the pick of the bunch.
Right Corner Back
At Corner-back, I’ve gone for Roscrea’s stylish defender Paul Delaney. Delaney is one of my favourite players to ever wear the blue & gold. He would also pop up with vital scores & an expert free-taker scoring 18 points during the period in 14 appearances.
I stay North for the full-back position with Nenagh’s Conor O’Donovan wearing no.3. Ever present at full-back during the All-Ireland campaign, he was equally as comfortable anywhere across the line.
Left Corner Back
The ‘Mines stalwart Noel Sheehy is the other corner-back. A teak tough defender who also played full-back and centre-back during the decade.
Right Wing Back
Cashel’s stylish Pat Fitzelle just edges out fellow Cashel man Conal Bonnar for the no.5 shirt. Fitzelle a regular in the early years also played at midfield.
Lorrha get their second player on the team with the pick of John McIntyre at centre-back. McIntyre played 7 times for Tipp during the decade and was equally at home at wing-back.
Left Wing Back
Having started his Tipp career as a Full-Forward Bobby Ryan found a home in the half-back line. He won 3 all-stars and is my undisputed pick for No. 7.
In the middle of the field I have gone for two West men, The enigmatic Joe Hayes was a huge addition when introduced during the 1987 campaign and managed to score 1-10 in 12 appearances while also popping up at centre-forward the odd time.
Beside Joe is new Tipp manager Colm Bonnar. Bonnar was the engine of the midfield during the latter part of the 80’s and when he went well Tipp went well.
Right Wing Forward
Still only 20 years old in 1988 Declan Ryan won an All-Star at wing-forward and scored 2-13 in 8 appearances. His size and ability were instrumental in Tipp winning the All-Ireland in 1989
Centre-forward goes to the big Killenaule man Donie O’Connell. A cult hero in Tipp Donie was hugely important to our game during the ‘Babs’ era. Donie knew where the posts were too coming in 4th in scoring during the period with 4-19
Left Wing Forward
Another Borrisoleigh man takes the no. 12 shirt, Aidan Ryan was a ball of energy winning an All-Star for his displays in 1987. He would score 0-20 in the decade.
Right Corner Forward
There is no competition for the no.13 shirt, Pat Fox played everywhere for Tipp, Midfield or Corner-back but it was as a no.13 that the left-hander found is fame. The free-taker for the team in the famine ending season of 1987. Fox was 2nd on the scoring charts for the decade.
I have picked Nicky English at full-forward. There was never a question of Nicky not being in the team just where to place him. Winning 6 All-Stars during the decade English was often unplayable. English was the best player to do the blue & gold in the 80’s and arguably ever.
Left Corner Forward
Cappawhite’s Ger O’Neill gets the nod at 15. Ger was brilliant for Tipp in 1984 and especially during the 1985 Munster Final. He scored 2-07 from play and was always a threat. Saw brief playing time during ‘Babs’ time but there was no doubting O’Neills prowess around the square.
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Mikes’s 15 Tipperary Titans
|Paul Delaney||Conor O’Donovan||Noel Sheehy|
|Roscrea||Eire Óg Nenagh||Silvermines|
|Pat Fitzelle||John McIntyre||Bobby Ryan|
|Joe Hayes||Colm Bonnar|
|Declan Ryan||Donie O’Connell||Aidan Ryan|
|Pat Fox||Nicky English||Ger O’Neill|
|Eire Óg Annacarty||Lattin/Cullen||Cappawhite|